29 April 2020 | Zambia

We recently reported how Transaid were helping some 200,000 rural Zambians to prepare for global pandemic Covid-19, by strengthening and adapting community systems already in place through the MAMaZ against Malaria at Scale (MAM@Scale) programme. Transaid have today announced new funding from international philanthropy through the FIA Foundation. This rapid funding, totalling €150,000, will have an immediate impact on the ground, ensuring that communities in rural Zambia have critical information about Covid-19, including details on how to protect themselves.

Along with their partners, Transaid have acted fast to expand the remit of their life-saving MAM@Scale programme. Originally established using community health volunteers, bicycle ambulances and volunteer riders to support patients with suspected severe malaria in reaching a health facility – the programme will now integrate Covid-19 messaging and interventions in a bid to prevent the rapid spread of the disease.

Caroline Barber, Transaid CEO, said:

We have been engaged at the highest levels in-country to support preparations being made on the ground. The spread of the disease in Zambia is several weeks behind Europe and North America, meaning every second counts. The more we can do now, the more lives we can save.

Saul Billingsley, Executive Director of the FIA Foundation, said: “Transaid and its partners have built a community health network which has had a huge impact on malaria health outcomes, through education and treatment outreach, with a direct application for the new global health challenge of Covid-19. The FIA Foundation is proud to support the nimble adaption of the existing network to reach many of the most remote communities in Zambia to save lives.”

Transaid’s work has involved developing hygiene and social distancing posters in English and local languages, plus the use of community radio. Together with their partners in the MAM@ Scale programme, they have also been contributing heavily to the Community Health Worker National Guidelines and supporting the district health teams in giving educational talks in local communities on prevention and response. They have also been helping to build resilience by stocking up food banks in 180 communities for the most vulnerable.

Other initiatives have included the procurement of cloth masks, disposable gloves and soap to protect community health volunteers and bicycle ambulance riders, together with the installation of ‘tippy-tap’ systems to provide hand-washing facilities in 180 communities. New safety protocols which include guidance on personal safety have also been rolled out to the volunteer riders.

Commenting on next steps, Barber added: “We are currently working at full steam both in the UK and on the ground in Africa. The whole team is highly motivated to ensure we can make a real difference, including sharing this approach, materials and learning with other countries.

“We have lots more activities planned for the coming weeks and we are hugely thankful to the FIA Foundation for reacting so quickly and enabling us to get to work straight away.

“Their support will help ensure that vital services and medicines won’t stop reaching the children who need them most; we are absolutely committed to ensuring we do not lose ground in the fight against malaria.”

Transaid transforms lives through safe, available, and sustainable transport. As an international development organisation that shares transport expertise with partners and governments, Transaid empowers people to build the skills they need to transform their own lives. Founded by Save the Children, The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), and its Patron, HRH The Princess Royal, the international development organisation shares 25 years’ worth of expertise in 23 countries.

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This is an example of a business response from Transaid which we are sharing as part of our global best practice resource to help you think about and determine appropriate responses locally.